Huntley village officials have rejected plans to redevelop more than 60 acres of the former Huntley Outlet Center property off Route 47 as a business park.
Huntley Investment Partners LLC had proposed erecting three speculative warehouse/distribution buildings ranging in size from 177,320 to 245,280 square feet on the property at 11800 Factory Shops Boulevard, north of Interstate 90 and east of Route 47. Plans called for subdividing the site into three lots for the warehouse/distribution buildings with a total of 708 parking spaces and dedicating two additional lots to stormwater management, village documents show.
The developer sought to rezone the site from regional retail to allow office, research and industrial/light manufacturing uses and special use permits for warehouse, storage and distribution consistent with neighboring businesses -- a Weber Grill warehouse facility to the east and a General RV dealership to the west. The proposal would have required amending a portion of the village's comprehensive plan to change the land use for the property from mixed commercial to light industrial.
A spokesman for the developer estimated businesses occupying these buildings would employ up to 700 people.
In March, the village plan commission recommended approval of the project by a 4-3 vote, subject to the developer's meeting various conditions.
The village board last Thursday voted 4-2 against the plans. Trustees Timothy Hoeft and J.R. Westberg supported the proposal.
Board member John Piwko doubted such a development would generate many jobs or significant property tax revenues.
"If this plan is approved, the board will no longer be able to market the area by the tollway, a highly traveled road, for any destination-type venues," Piwko said. "If this plan is approved, the board will not have listened to what the residents want to see built on this property. I'm sure many of you follow social media. You've probably read what the residents are requesting. I realized not everything they want is feasible, especially at that location, but nonetheless the board will have failed them."
Trustees also rejected the proposal because the development would not be the "highest and best use" for the site, wouldn't generate sales tax revenues and would increase truck traffic in the village.
Board member Ronda Goldman said she might have supported rezoning one of the lots to gauge interest from tenants before considering converting the entire site into industrial/office use.
Village President Charles Sass echoed concerns whether a warehouse distribution business really would bring in several hundred employees because operations are being geared more toward automation.
Sass added that officials would like to see businesses such as a hotel or restaurants there.
Officials didn't see any point in tabling the matter because the same proposal has been lingering for more than two years.
The 279,000-square-foot Huntley Outlet Mall was razed last spring after operating more than 22 years.
The property was purchased in April 2016 by Huntley Investment Partners LLC -- comprising Elgin's The Capital Companies LLC; Chicago-based The Prime Group, Inc., which built the center in 1994; and Craig Realty Group, a California-based development and management firm of upscale factory outlet centers.
Over the past several years, General RV purchased roughly 14 acres of the former outlet center site from Huntley Investment Partners to expand the dealership's storage lot and erect a new maintenance building, completed last year on roughly eight acres. General RV recently acquired six more acres at the site for which it is yet to submit plans, though it is anticipated it will be developed into retail space.